Welcome to our Hornby home.
We hope you have a wonderful time in our house, and on the island in general.
The house may have a smell. Air it well the first day.
If the house has been vacant for a while you probably need to turn some things on. Check these things on arrival - they may or may not need doing:
ELECTRICAL - Go to the circuit panel, which is located behind a wood covering above the toilet. If they are not on, turn on the water pump (#13) and the hot water heater (#10 & #11).
WATER - In winter months we often drain the pipes to prevent freezing. Open a tap - if water comes out there’s nothing to do. If not, then proceed as follows: Go to the water tank room (door on your right as you go from living room to large bedroom). Look down and see the yellow control handle in the line at your feet. Open it. Go outside and locate the tap beneath the kitchen window. It should be running. Shut it. Go back inside and shut all taps in kitchen and bathrooms.
We observe a basic Jewish Kosher food policy – I would prefer that you not bring into the house any pork products or shellfish, but it’s your call.
All the appliances work as you would expect. Use washing machine sparingly (two loads in one day chokes the treatment system). The microwave is new. The fridge is cold – keep the dial near Normal, turn down on leaving.
We use tap water for general washing purposes and bottled water for drinking, coffee, etc. Use the water you find - but please replace it before you leave. (You can buy different sizes at the co-op - the best is to take back the big blue empty and refill it at the co-op, at the gas bar or at Ford Cove).
Eat any open packages or perishables that you find. Use the spices, etc that you need. Replace any cans or packages you consume.
Don’t use metal spoons or spatulas on the teflon frypans.
Because we’re on a septic system, be careful what goes down the drain. Large amounts of grease are bad. Coffee grounds go into compost.
There have been mice sometimes (though not this year) so it's a good idea to keep things in sealed containers or up high. There’s an ultra-sonic mouse zapper (small white round thing) plugged into a wall outlet - keep it there. Don’t pile dishes in front of it or you block the ultra-sonic waves.
Clean the floor with water only. Sweep (don't vacuum) wooden floors.
WHERE TO FIND...
In the kitchen, the far left drawer (below the microwave) contains a lot of papers and stuff. There you will find the instruction manuals for various appliances, fireplace, etc. There are envelopes with info about Hornby itself and surrounding areas. There’s a ring of keys (with a red tag) to the sheds and second storage room. Also there’s a supply of emergency candles and matches.
Between the living room and large bedroom is a storage room. In it are folding chairs, warm clothing, vacuum cleaner and extra bags, light bulbs, battery radio and other supplies for power outages (see below), etc. We also keep some tools there in case something breaks on you.
Along the side of the house is a second storage room. Keys are in the drawer. More tools here, but also the hammock. (Hammock hooks are on the sides of the trees in the deck. Rain coming? - store it by hanging on the nail on the outside wall.)
The mud room outside the kitchen has seasonal outdoor stuff - citronella oil and table cloths in summer, shovel & salt in winter.
The switch for the outdoor path light (it gets dark in the country) is on the far wall of the living room. The switch for the dining room track lighting is where the cord enters the wall outlet.
Phone books (the coloured Hornby one is especially useful) are in the drawers beside the games.
The island suffers from unpredictable blackouts, though mostly in winter. It’s good to know where things are before that happens. Check now.
Candles are all over, with extras in the kitchen drawer and inside store room. Matches are in the kitchen drawer and dining room dresser drawer.
There should be small flashlights beside each bed. Headlamp hangs in storage room. Please don’t waste these flashlights - if you go out at night and wear down the batteries, please put in fresh batteries. Then buy some replacements.
There's a combo flashlight/radio on the dining room window ledge. There's another battery operated radio hanging on a nail in the storage room.
The storage room also has a Coleman stove and a lantern. The lantern uses batteries. The stove operates on camping fuel - there is some there. (If you need to refill, do it outdoors or in the mud room. And do it by flashlight, not candle light!!!)
Don’t use the sinks or flush the toilet. The pump to the septic will be out. Water can be gotten from the taps (the pressure tank will continue to work) but dump waste water in the woods.
Cold? Light the fireplace.
Water is a problem on Hornby both in terms of quantity and quality.
Quantity- Hornby Island sits in the rainshadow of the Vancouver Island mountains. Summers are often very dry. We get our water from a well on the property which, while adequate for our needs, needs to be used carefully. Observe the common precautions against waste - don’t let extra water run when washing dishes, kleenex in garbage not the toilet, “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”, keep showers short, etc.
Quality - Much of the water on Hornby is sulphurous. Ours isn’t too bad, but you’ll still notice it. Use the tap water for all washing of dishes and selves. Take off your silver jewelry while you’re here - the sulphur will darken it. We use bottled water for drinking purposes. There’s a bottle in the bathroom for brushing teeth (not for washing) - refill it from the kitchen jug. Just use what you see and replace before you leave.
All our waste water goes to a septic system. (It’s on your left as you walk up the driveway) You shouldn’t have to worry about it at all but you should be aware not to put any bleach, excessive soaps or detergents, coffee grounds, excess grease or other funny stuff into the system. In fact, gentlemen on antibiotics are requested to pee in the woods. Please use the minimum of toilet paper. Put kleenex, dental floss etc. into the garbage, not the toilet. Most important - don't overload it (eg: don't do too many showers or laundry loads in a day)! If the control panel (located on the post beside the septic field) alarm goes off, and the light goes on, you've swamped it. Push the light to silence the alarm and drastically reduce your water use! It should clear. If the alarm returns, or if the light flashes, or if something terrible goes wrong call Daniel Siegel or Sasha Lebaron (phone numbers on last page).
The toilet in the main bathroom is a low-flush device - less water used. Push handle for light flush - push & hold for heavier flush. The drawback to this is that sometimes it plugs instead of flushing. Don't feel guilty - just grab the nearby plunger and get busy. (That didn’t do it? Fill a bucket with hot water from the tub faucet and pour it into the toilet from a height.) You can reduce the likelihood of this by going easy on the toilet paper. And remember, no dental floss, kleenex, etc.
The toilet in the second bathroom is even fussier - it's designed to chop everything up first. Body wastes & paper only! For hot water in this bathroom, plug in the heater under the sink (black cord). Unplug when leaving us.
GARBAGE, COMPOST & RECYCLE
There is NO garbage collection on Hornby. The locals must pay for each bag they leave at the recycle centre. Visitors take their garbage off island with them. So plan what you’re going to do with each thing.
Hornby has a very active recycle depot. (It’s actually one of the local highlights and worth a visit. In summer it’s open Thurs- Sunday, 9AM - 1PM. There’s a free store there too – but in 2020 it’s closed due to Covid.) We recycle here. In one of the sheds you’ll find several boxes for recycle collection. CLEAN your stuff, sort it into paper, plastic, metal, free store, etc. You can either leave it in the shed for us to take, or take it to the depot yourself and get the Hornby experience.
In the enclosure behind the sheds is the compost bin. Put in it all vegetable matter - but no meats, greasy foods, etc.
The remainder goes into a garbage bag, then into your trunk! Take it to the depot (and pay the fee) or take it off the island.
This is a no-smoking house. If you smoke, please do it outdoors, (ashtrays are in the mud room) and throw all butts into the garbage.
Please close all ground-floor windows if you leave the house- even Hornby has break-ins. Screens are optional during the day, but beware - in summer mosquitos come out a few hours before sunset.
Please don't wear shoes indoors. Leave wet clothing in the mud room before you come in. In winter you may hang stuff above the woodstove to dry it. (There’s a lifting tool hanging on the wall)
The washer and dryer work (though the washer tends to get stuck mid-cycle. Advance the dial one click) But remember: don't waste water, and no excess detergents in the septic. Be prudent.
Treat the stereo system in the dining room gently. If you use our cassettes or CD's, put them back into the cases immediately after use.
We have some night-lights around. Put one in the dining room or living room wall outlet. It will illuminate a safe descent from the second floor to the bathroom. The top floor is most suited to short people (kids!). There are beds, but it’s mostly a jumping space. In winter we usually seal it off with styrofoam. If you remove the styrofoam, note the pattern first for easy re-assembly before you leave.
There is no wifi. Cell phone reception is best on the second floor. You can probably get your email on a smart phone with data plan if you go upstairs.
The wood stove in the living room throws a lot of heat. You probably don’t want to bother with it in summer unless the weather is wretched. A detailed instruction book is in the kitchen drawer. Basic idea: pull the damper rod all the way out to get the fire going (a bed of crumpled paper, a layer of kindling, then bigger stuff), then shove it all the way in once the wood is all caught. Open it every time before opening the door to feed more wood, and close it right after. Air is regulated by the sliding valve above the door - maximum open is to the left, but leaving it in the middle is usually right. Put cold ashes in compost or in the woods (where we won't see it). There’s glass cleaner under the sink. Kindling (& hatchet) is in the standalone shed. Don’t waste kindling.
The phone number is (250) 335-1955. All Hornby phones begin (250) 335- and are local calls. Calls to Courtnay/Comox are also local. Do not charge long-distance calls to us. Bill long distance to your own number or else don’t phone!! Expecting a call? – look for the red flashing light on the wall unit and then press PLAY.
You don’t need to do anything more with the outdoors than enjoy it. Be careful where you walk and you won’t damage any plants. If you're here for a week or more during dry weather, you might feel inclined to water them. I’d appreciate that. There are jugs of water for that purpose behind the house. (I bet you were wondering about those).
Keep the gate closed so deer don’t enter and eat the garden.
Don't use the outdoor chairs indoors. (There are indoor folding chairs in the storage room)
The fish don’t need to be fed - it’s amazing how well they do on their own. In fact, overfeeding adds to the algae growth and is a bad idea. But in case you want to treat them, you’ll find fish food in the Pond Box in the storage room, or maybe on the table outside the door. Never feed them in the cold months.
There are bikes in the shed (keys in kitchen drawer), though we've locked up our personal bikes. The brakes on the blue bike are bad in wet weather. There are helmets and bike locks there, too - use them! There are frisbees, water sport items and other recreation in the same shed.
You can easily walk to the beach access at Grassy Point. It’s a great spot for viewing sunsets. Swimming is good there when the tide is high (possible currents off the point). But for sandy beaches you want Whaling Station Bay or Tribune Bay. Whaling Station is a favorite of families with very young kids. Tribune Bay is a provincial park and has parking lots, toilets, lots of sand and people. Little Tribune is the clothing-optional, quieter undeveloped beach accessible from Little Trib Road near the Co-op.
The Co-op is the hub of island activity. You can buy almost anything there. You don’t need a membership to shop there, but if you tell them ours (#1863) we will earn some minimal rebate on the purchase. Around the Co-op are bookstores, bike repair, ice cream, two restaurants and more. There is Community Access computers in case you can't live without wifi.
More restaurants? There is pizza from a booth near the Co-op intersection and another (cheaper) pizza and fish&chips stand at Ford Cove. The restaurant near the ferry is decent - the pub is next door - but financial troubles may mean they're not functioning. Sea Breeze Lodge has a fancy dinner - call to get the menu and book. In late summer the island abounds in blackberries.
Helliwell Park is an easy walk past magnificent views. Plan two hours and carry water. Mount Geoffrey has hiking trails (enter from Strachan Rd) and biking trails (enter from beside the cemetery). Maps available at the bike shop near the co-op. Kids fish off the docks at Ford Cove and Shingle Spit. There are fossils and petroglyphs at low tide if you know where to look. On moonless nights look at the bioluminescence at Phipps Point. Renting kayaks is fun. The newsletter The Island Grapevine lists tides and general goings on, and there’s more local stuff in The Tribune – pick these up at the Co-op. Read the notice boards around the co-op to find out what’s happening on the island. Wednesdays and Saturdays in summer there’s a food & crafts market near The Community Hall - and frequently a movie in the evening - check to see what else during the week. (2020 note: Covid has changed a lot – these community events might not be functioning during your stay) There’s a medical centre near the Community Hall. In summer the RCMP have a detachment next door. Visit the Free Store at the Recycling Center. Sample some cider at Fossil Beach. Buy some local pottery and art. There's an ATM at the Thatch and at the Co-op and another at the Credit Union behind The Hall.
Do you have any comments or suggestions for us? We’d love to hear them. Please leave us a note in our visitors book which should be on the dining room dresser.
Don’t leave us your garbage! We don’t want it! Put all the (cleaned) recycle stuff in the shed. Put the compost in its bin. Anything else goes into a garbage bag and you take it off the island or to the depot.
All kitchen food items should be in sealed containers so the mice wonմ get them after you’re gone. Don't leave perishables in the fridge.
Are all baseboard heaters turned off? (In winter leave the dining room thermostat set to 5)
Did you close the fireplace damper and reload the wood boxes?
Lights off? Appliances off? Mouse zapper plugged in?
Is the cord to the water heater in the second bathroom unplugged?
Bathroom and kitchen all clean?
Are the shed and outside storage room locked?
All taps closed tight? In winter, you may need to drain the pipes. If so, go to the water tank room (see "On Arrival" section) and close the tap at your feet. Then open some inside taps. Finally, go outside and find the tap below the kitchen window. Open it to drain.
If no one is going to be here in the next few days you need to turn some electrical circuits off. Go to the circuit panel above the toilet. Turn off the hot water heater (#10 & #11) and (in winter only) the water pump (#13). In the second bathroom, if you plugged in the hot water before then unplug it now.
If someone is coming here soon, or if you know the property manager will be doing this (quite likely), you can skip all this switches and faucets stuff.
If you are a summer renter, then we have a cleaning person coming in after you to do floors, bathrooms, etc. Even so, you still must empty the fridge, clean your dishes, put recycles in the shed and dispose of your garbage.
The little Hornby phone book (esp. page 2) is very useful.
My number in Vancouver is (604) 879-4466. Or text me at (604) 537-6930. But you shouldn’t need it.
Septic system misbehaving (lights and buzzers going)? Sasha Lebaron services it (Hornby: (250) 335-3038 Cell: (778) 992-0269)
Your first line of help is to call Daniel Siegel. His number is 250-335-3020. He's our property manager- so he has keys, knows the building, and is authorized to contact any repair people as needed.